Now, a breakfast row over Indian-origin family in South Africa

Durban, May 29 (IANS) South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party has criticised the office of the premier of KwaZulu-Natal province for sponsoring a business breakfast for a newspaper owned by an influential Indian-origin family in that country.

KwaZulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize’s office has drawn the ire of DA leader in the provincial legislature, Sizwe Mchunu, for sponsoring the breakfast for the New Age newspaper, owned by the Gupta brothers, at an upmarket venue last month, the Independent Online reported Wednesday.

The Gupta brothers – Ajay, Atul and Rajesh – are said to be close to South African President Jacob Zuma.

“It appears the premier spent an excessive amount of taxpayers’ money,” Mchunu was quoted as saying.

Responding to questions put up by the DA, it was stated in the country’s parliament that the KwaZulu-Natal government, through the premier’s office, contributed 130,000 rand (around $13,200) for expenses like venue, equipment, catering for the breakfast at the Sibaya Casino and Entertainment World situated north of Durban.

Though Mchunu was told that it was the only venue available at that time, he remained adamant and said that this excuse deserves further investigation.

The event was attended by government officials of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), including KwaZulu-Natal legislature speaker Peggy Nkonyeni.

“Invitations were not extended to other members of the legislature,” Mchunu said.

This row comes fresh on the heels of another controversy involving a wedding in the Gupta family.

In that incident earlier this month, a decision to allow a private chartered aircraft, carrying guests from India for the wedding, to land on an air force base near Pretoria sparked nationwide outrage.

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